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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

The Brutal Battle Within: Triumphing Over Self-Doubt as a High-Performing Professional

Ready to be uncomfortable?

Here it is: you’re not good enough.

Right now, as you are, you’re not everything you could be.

And that… is a good thing.

What’s more, you’ve been told you need to get rid of that feeling to succeed.

But the opposite is true. You need to harness it, and use it.

Don’t Believe The Guru BS

When you delve into the mindset of high performers who are performing below their potential, you find a painful truth.

They don’t feel good enough.

Maybe you don’t feel anywhere near good enough…

…despite having so much going for you, you still feel unfulfilled, and suspect you’ll never satisfy that nagging voice at the back of your mind.

This is where so many self-help guru’s wade in and say “you’re perfectly good enough as you are…”, “you just need to love yourself.”

But the real truth is, you’re not good enough. Otherwise you wouldn’t feel that way.

You take the easy option too frequently. You fall into shitty patterns of behaviour. You shy away from your best effort.

See, you’re not good enough.

Change doesn’t start by hiding from the truth.

Change happens when you confront reality as it is.

And change happens when you admit that you are not as good as you could be.

This will be painful, and it only gets worse

Deeply acknowledging you suck is painful.

It goes against the narrative you’ve probably been telling yourself.

It even goes against a lot of the advice you hear.

But you will only change for the better when you acknowledge the depth of your incompetence and lack.

When you think you have accepted all your inadequacies, dive deeper again.

Ask yourself who you will become if you fail to do something about this.

For years, I hid from my deficiencies. I believed I was good enough as I was. The world kept telling me I sucked, but I ignored its warnings.

I hid from the truth that I was letting myself down.

This self-inflicted lie was desperate to make itself known.

Anxiety wrecked my sleep. I couldn’t perform as I’d like to at work. I stopped enjoying my life. I over-caffeinated. I spun my wheels endlessly but got nowhere. I was snappy with my wife.

The world was telling me I needed to sort my shit out, but I hid from that truth.

It took me almost losing everything to finally see clearly: I was creating my own suffering.

The truth wasn’t just that I wasn’t good enough. The truth was that I was letting myself down on an almost daily basis.

I needed to see what was on the line if I didn’t change. In fact, until I came *this* close to losing everything, I couldn’t make myself change.

The pain of remaining the same needed to outweigh the pain of change.

It’s a weird form of self-love

You may say “but what about self-love? Isn’t that a key mindset thing we always hear about?”

I would say this:

Owning up to how much you let yourself down, is the most radical act of self-love you can perform.

By accepting you’re not good enough, you take your first step in being less shit.

This is a hard, but necessary, choice.

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.” - Jerzy Gregorek

Make a list of all the ways you suck & flip it

Make a list of all the ways you suck. Be brutally honest.

For example, you mindlessly scroll through Instagram when you could be connecting with your partner or kids.

You take the easy option at work or in the gym even though you know it’s keeping you stuck.

You indulge in self-destructive and shameful habits.

Dig deep into the raw, unfiltered truth.

These things are only painful because they go against what the better part of you believes are your values.

Flip them and they become your values to aim at.

“I waste my life on social media” becomes “I want to maximise my hours of the day, and do things I think are meaningful.”

“I shy away from discomfort” becomes “I do difficult things.”

“I don’t make time for the people I love” becomes “I cherish those close to me.”

Now you’ve got something to aim at: in each, and every moment.

Close the gap day by day

By this point, you have a list of daily objectives that will (a) move you closer to your long-term goals, and (b) improve your relationship with yourself.

Your objective now is to simply close the gap between you and your goals day by day.

Every day, you move forward. Relentlessly.


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